Rio Tinto Acquires North

Rio Tinto Limited, the world’s largest mining company, completed in August, 2000 its hostile and contested take-over bid for North Limited, a large widely-held Australian iron ore company, for approximately A$3.5 billion (C$3.0 billion). North controls Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), Canada’s largest iron ore producer, based in Quebec and Labrador, which has almost $1 billion in assets. North’s other key asset is the iron ore deposit in Robe River in Western Australia, in addition to other mining interests in copper, gold, zinc and uranium. Rio Tinto’s original offer of A$3.80 per share was eclipsed by a A$4.20 per share bid from a white knight, Anglo American (a major South African mining company). However, Anglo American declined to match Rio Tinto’s counter-offer of A$4.75 per share.

McCarthy Tétrault represented Rio Tinto in Canada. Owen A. Johnson provided corporate advice and Oliver Borgers obtained the necessary approvals required pursuant to competition and foreign investment review laws. Rio Tinto’s worldwide legal team was headed by Stephen Creese (general counsel) and Chris McFadden (legal counsel) and included the Australian firm of Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks.